“What it’s like to be a parent: It’s one of the hardest things you’ll ever do but in exchange it teaches you the meaning of unconditional love.” -Nicolas Sparks
How you decide to ‘look’ at your child determines what you experience…and then influences how you interact.
~ Your child is the one in a group situation who hangs at the periphery seemingly not engaging at all…and it worries you, “He’s missing out!” What is different for you if you see it as your child is an observer who is seeing and feeling lots of things you don’t notice–that instead of missing out, they are soaking it up? Now how might you interact with them following this periphery experience?
~ Your child falls apart at the slightest thing–and always has since infancy! You wish that she’d be less the cry baby and able to ‘handle’ what comes her way. What is different for you as you appreciate how deeply she feels and is aware of her feelings? What might you do differently as you look at her realizing she is handling her deep feelings in just the way that works best for her?
~ The eye-rolling and sarcastic comments flung at you from your teen pushes your button to the Nth degree…URGH! What is different when you look at it as his way of coping with all the inner turmoil teens often experience? That he is trying super hard to keep himself together in the midst of extreme ups and downs? To be in control of himself? Now what might you say or do the next time sarcasm and eye-rolling is flung your way?
~ All the button pushing behavior from your growing child is really an opportunity for you to grow your patient self–a strength worth exercising often, for it builds relationships in positive ways. Now how might you approach the next round of testing as you focus first on yourself and appreciate the chance to practice patience? Okay, I know that is a tough one…but it DOES pay big dividends over time!
~ The off the wall rambunctiousness of your child after school–talking at you constantly, moving their body full speed ahead, wanting your attention and time to play with you…and you just want it to be QUIET. Why can’t they just come home and chill for a while??? What is different for you as you recognize and appreciate that your child is an extrovert, unloading the stress of school and recharging by fully engaging you? And what is different as you recognize you really are an introvert who needs quiet time to recharge while your child is busily recharging himself in the way that works for him…
~ Or maybe it is the opposite–your child comes home from school and says nary two words to you, disappearing into her room at length. You are dancing around this, wanting so much to know how her day went, what homework she has, who she ate lunch with, what things are to be planned for in the next few days…What could be different if you saw your child’s retreat as their way of taking care of herself so she can be at her best? To recharge–and to know this quiet time is what she needs to do so?
I’d venture to say, as you intentionally look to what is working for your child, what you can appreciate about them–as you look at their behavior through a different ‘lens’…you will find yourself calming down. And as you calm down, I believe you’ll discover how you choose to respond to your child will be in ways that support and encourage and affirm them for who they are.
In return, they can feel empowered…and that child on the periphery may begin to move into the group and engage; the child that feels so deeply begins to understand and accept her feelings even more–allowing her to manage those feelings better and better; the eye-rolling/sarcastic stuff from your teen can lessen…and they may begin to open up about what is really troubling them; the button pushing turns into more cooperative behavior and you feel calmer and more patient daily; the introvert and extroverts feel accepted as-is, allowing them to feel recharged and able to engage in ways that work for all…
Relationships can thrive! I encourage you to try looking at the behavior that stirs up your anxiety through a different lens today–one of appreciation. Notice what is different for you, for your child, how it influences a situation. As you practice this, let me know what changes for you…because things will change, this I can promise. Appreciation. It changes lives.
©2014 Alice Hanscam
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